French broadcaster Canal+ takes 6.5% MultiChoice stake

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French broadcaster Groupe Canal+ SA has snapped up a stake in Pan-African satellite TV operator MultiChoice, acquiring 6.5% of the company’s total ordinary shares.

In a short announcement on SENS this morning, MultiChoice says the group’s policy is not to comment on its individual shareholders, nor on its interactions with them, but it remains “committed to acting in the best interests of all shareholders and to create sustainable long-term shareholder value”.

The statement says: “French media company Groupe Canal+ SA has acquired an interest in the ordinary shares of the company, such that the total interest in the ordinary shares of the company held by Groupe Canal+ now amounts to 6.5% of the company’s total ordinary shares in issue.”

The announcement comes on the back of growing interest by international broadcasters targeting Sub-Saharan Africa, including Canal+ and China’s StarTimes.

Canal+, which is owned by media titan Vivendi, last year acquired iRokotv, a Web platform that provides paid-for Nigerian films on-demand.

Last week, it announced iRokotv is set to launch a mobile-first subscription video-on-demand service for French-speaking Africa.

The rollout, which is expected in the coming months, is reportedly part of the company’s strategy to expand its footprint globally. According to the company, Sub-Saharan Africa counts 250 million French speakers across 23 countries and as many as 165 million smartphones were reported to be in circulation this year.

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